A STORY ABOUT A REAL MAN 61 "Who are you?" "What do you want to know for? Nicht fershteh...." "I am Russian." "You are fibbing. Bust my eyes if you ain't. You are a fascist!" "I am Russian, Russian! An airman. The Germans shot me down." Alexei cast all caution to the winds now. He was con- vinced that his own people were behind those trees, Russian, Soviet people. They did not believe him. Thas was natural. War teaches one to be cautious. And now, for the first time since he started out on his journey, he felt absolutely done in, he felt that he could not move either hand or foot, neither move nor de- fend himself. Tears rolled down the dark hollows of his cheeks. "Look, he's crying!" came a voice from behind the trees. "Hey, you! Why are you crying?1' "I am a Russian, a Russian like you, an airman." "From what airfield?" "But who are you?" "What do you want to know for? Answer!" "From the Mochalov airfield. Why don't you help me? Come out! What the hell...." There was another, more animated, whispered con- sultation behind the trees. Alexei distinctly heard the words: "Do you hear? He says he's from the Mochalov airfield----Perhaps he's telling the truth.... And he's crying...." Then came a shout: "Hey, you, airman! Chuck your gun! Drop it, I tell you, or we won't come out! We'll run away!" Alexei threw his pistol away. The branches parted, and two boys, alert, like a couple of inquisitive tomtits ready to dart off in an instant, cautiously, hand in hand, approached Alexei. The older one, a thin, blue-eyed lad with flaxen hair, held an axe. The younger one, a red- haired, freckle-faced little fellow, his eyes shining with irrepressible curiosity, followed a step behind the first and whispered: "He's crying. He is really crying. And skinny! Look how skinny he is!"